CHAPTER 11

 

KEEP YOUR HOPE ALIVE

“My enemy has chased me. He has knocked me to the ground. He forces me to live in darkness like those in the grave. I am losing all hope; I am paralysed with fear… Come quickly LORD, and answer me, for my depression deepens. Don’t turn away from me, or I will die.”

(Ps 143:3, 4, 7 NLT)

People can suffer the loss of many things, but if they lose hope they’re heading for trouble.

Listen, it doesn’t matter how low you’ve sunk, or how hopeless you feel – God is still there. He is still alive. And He is still mighty to save. If all you can do is to whisper, “help me!” do it. God will honour that prayer. He will rescue you, and He will restore your hope. Your heavenly Father will never leave you. He will never fail you. He loves you too much to ever give up on you!

“Comfort, yes, comfort My people! Says your God.”

(Isa 40:1 NKJV)

There’s enough negativity in the world, enough people who’ll crush your hopes, enough people who’ll try to kill your faith, enough people who’ll belittle your dreams. As believers we certainly don’t need that from each other.

The worst thing we can do is to destroy a person’s trust, faith, and hope in God. God says it will be better for such people to be thrown into the sea with a large stone tied around their necks (Mark 9:42). Besides, who are we to tell people that they’ve lost it in life? Maybe they have, for a while, but that doesn’t mean their failure is final with God. That doesn’t mean they can never get back on track. The last thing we want to do is to shoot the wounded. Think about all the times you failed. Wouldn’t you want comfort, mercy, and help instead of judgement?

We’re here to encourage people and to build them up in their faith, not to crush their hope. When people are going through a crisis all we need to do at times is just to be there. Stop the wise words. Put away the plan of action. Drop the ten scriptures. Just be there. And listen.

“Why am I discouraged? Why so sad?

I will put my hope in God!”

(Ps 43:5 NLT).

Perhaps some people have told you that you cannot expect too much from God, or get your hopes up too high. Why not?

The Word of God does not offer you false hope. In Christ you have real hope. And this hope in the Good News of Jesus Christ will never disappoint you. God will never embarrass you if you put your hope and trust in Him. If your hope is in the Word of God you’ll have a hope that will never let you go!

You know, God doesn’t have a wicked sense of humour. Your heavenly Father will not get your hope up only to crush it again (Isa 42:3). He will not tell you to ask Him for something that He didn’t plan to give you (Isa 45:19). When He gives you hope, know that the Holy Spirit within you is God’s guarantee that He really will give you all that He promised (Eph 1:14). You don’t ever have to lower your expectations to fit in with the crowd. Your expectation comes from God. Your God is a God of the impossible, and a God of more than enough!

“You have seen me tossing and turning through the night. You have collected all my tears and preserved them in your bottle! You have recorded every one in your book. The very day I call for help, the tide of battle turns. My enemies flee! This one thing I know: God is for me!” (Ps 56:8-9 TLB)

“For every promise from God shall surely come true.

(Luke 1:37 TLB)

Don’t ever abandon the hope that you have in God’s promises (Acts 26:6). If you’re feeling down, cheer up, and take new courage! God has many wonderful things planned for your life. He will bring you through. He will make sure your dream shall come to pass. He will make you strong like a wild bull and fill your mouth with songs of deliverance and victory. He has made a solemn oath to take care of you. There simply is no other God like your God. He is completely worthy of your trust!

 

QUITTING IS NOT AN OPTION

“You are blessed, because you believed that the LORD would do what He said.”

(Luke 1:45 NLT)

The commands of your King are forever settled in heaven, and they are yours to claim. So, what promise of God are you standing on? Remember the Word of God is all the proof you need. You shall have it. It’s just a matter of time.

Listen, God is committed to His Word. He is faithful to bring His promises to pass in your life (Heb 10:23). Just make a quality decision to commit yourself to His promises! Make a decision to stand strong come hell or high water. If you’re not really committed to your promise you’ll always find a number of reasons to give up. And remain confident in God, no matter what happens. Keep declaring the promise as if that promise has already come to pass in your life (Rom 4:17).

“Don’t get discouraged and give up, for we will reap a harvest of blessing at the appropriate time.”

(Gal 6:9 NLT)

Now maybe you did cry out like David, “How long must I wait?”

Yes, at times you’ll have to wait. And we don’t like waiting. Waiting irritates us and we often give up on God because of seemingly delayed answers. It’s usually in times of waiting that we become tempted to lose our confidence in God. It’s in times of waiting that we’re tempted to question His will. It’s in times of waiting that we’re tempted to question our own decisions. It’s in times of waiting that we’re tempted to consider other options. What really pushes our faith to the breaking point is not the crisis itself, but the waiting!

“But if we look forward to something we don’t have yet, we must wait patiently and confidently.”

(Rom 8:25 NLT)

Whatever you trust God for can manifest immediately, but sometimes God will use time to accomplish certain things in you and around you before He delivers the final manifestation of your promise. It’s not that you don’t have it; you’ve received it the moment you’ve prayed, the delivery is merely delayed (Mark 11:24). God knows that the answer to your prayer involves a lot more than what you think it does. He knows that the testimony that will flow from it will not only touch and change your life, but also the lives of people around you.

So, don’t get caught up in the waiting period. Make a firm decision to fix your eyes only on what lies ahead of you. Settle it in your heart that God will come through for you. There still is great joy ahead of you!

Remember, it’s in this waiting period, or the in-between period, that you’ll need an attitude of patient endurance and relentless perseverance (Rom 8:25). Patience will help you to remain cool, calm, collected, and stable, regardless of who or what comes against you, or how long the delay. Patience will help you not to walk away from your promise. Patience will help you not to settle for plan B. Patience will help you to move from frustration into a place of rest in God and in His Word.

The disciples had to wait in Jerusalem until they received the promise of the Holy Spirit. They had no idea how long the wait was going to be. But suddenly the Holy Spirit fell on them. What if they had given up a minute to soon (Acts 1:4; 2:1-4)? Elijah persevered until the showers came down (1 Kings 18:1-2; 18:41-46). The widow stood her ground until her request was granted. She unashamedly refused to give up (Luke 18:1-8).

Don’t fall into the trap of setting your deadline. No amount of confessing the Word of God is going to change God’s perfect time for you. You can’t manipulate Him by your tears or tantrums. If we set our personal deadlines and things don’t happen according to our deadline, we usually get despondent, disappointed in God, and come to the conclusion that either that was not God’s will for us, or His promises are not to be trusted.

 

IT TAKES COURAGE TO FINISH

“So on October 2 the wall was finally finished–just fifty-two days after we had begun. When our enemies and the surrounding nations heard about it, they were frightened and humiliated. They realized that this work had been done with the help of our God.”

(Neh 6:15-16 NLT)

To start is one thing, but to finish quite another. Some of the most challenging times in the life of faith come when the end is in sight. When you sense in your spirit that the manifestation of your promise will happen sooner rather than later the temptation to quit can become intense. That’s why you need courage to finish!

Of course the voice of the enemy will always tempt you to quit by saying that, since you still don’t see anything, it’s of no use to keep on saying what you believe. He’ll always give you a list of reasons why what you trust God for will probably never happen. He will always try to get you to compromise in order for you to settle for less than what you trust God for. Remember Hannah? “Why a son, Hannah? Isn’t your husband better than sons?” And he’s ever so ready to point out all your flaws. Or better yet, he might be telling you that God’s not going to heal your legs because you have a much better testimony if you stay lame all your life.

Well, shut him up and keep your focus on the promises of God. You know too much to give up now. You came too far to throw it all away. Besides, you have confidence in the promise of God, not because of whoyou are, or because of what you do, but because of what Jesus has done for you!

“Don’t be intimidated by your enemies. This will be a sign to them that they are going to be destroyed, but that you are going to be saved, even by God himself.”

(Phil 1:28 NLT)

Make up your mind not to be intimidated by the enemy any longer. Don’t allow pressure to bully you into surrender. Don’t allow your challenge to wear you down.

Stand true to what you believe until you experience the joy of your faith. Drive images of defeat out of your heart. And pray, especially in your spiritual language, to build up your faith. When things get tough, choose not to start questioning the will of God. Refuse to take the easy way out. Refuse to give up just because you’re tired of waiting.

Remember, the answer may be delayed but the manifestation of the promises of God can never be stopped. He will act swiftly and speedily at exactly the right time. You have no idea how close you are. You might be minutes away from your breakthrough!

 

TAKE IT ONE DAY AT A TIME

“Each morning I bring my requests to you and wait expectantly.”

(Ps 5:3 NLT)

The very day you called for help, the tide of your battle turned (Ps 56:9). Even though you see nothing happening in the visible world, know that, as you keep on saying what you believe God is working behind the scenes on your behalf.

As you declare the promise, healing is busy working in your body. As you declare the promise, finances are finding its way to you. As you declare the promise, your family is being saved. As you declare the promise, your marriage is being restored. So don’t quit the process. Be like David, who even in despondency, kept on praying. He never quit but made up his mind to trust God, to trust His Word, and to keep on expecting God to come through for him.

One day at a time. Pray, one day at a time. Declare your promise, one day at a time. Choose to stand on God’s Word confidently, one day at a time. Choose to have a grateful heart, one day at a time. Choose to focus on Jesus and all that He did for you, one day at a time. Choose to praise God for your victory, one day at a time. Choose to be courageous, one day at a time. Choose not to be intimidated, one day at a time. God gives you grace to handle one day at a time. So never worry about tomorrow. Do what you need to do today.

And suddenly, God will come through for you and the Word you have spoken shall be realised (Ezek 37:4-7). Sooner than you think, in the twinkling of an eye, even in your sleep, your blessing will come. It will actually happen so fast your head will spin!

 

GOD IS GOOD!

“I would have lost heart, unless I had believed That I would see the goodness of the LORD In the land of the living.”

(Ps 27:13 NKJV)

 

“Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life.”

(Ps 23:6 NKJV)

God is good. He was good yesterday, He is good today, and He will still be good tomorrow. He cannot change. He is good all the time (Mal 3:6). And He is good towards all people on this planet (Ps 100:5; 145:8-9).

Your heavenly Father is not out to get you. He is for you. He wants you to be satisfied with the goodness of His House (Ps 65:4c). As a matter of truth, “He is able to accomplish infinitely more than we would ever dare to ask or hope” (Eph 3:20 NLT).

We can’t always blame God for everything that’s wrong in this world. He’s completely separated from evil (1 John 1:5). He’s not the cause of wars, rebellions, or anarchy. He’s not behind terrorist acts. He’s not punishing people with AIDS. And He certainly is not doing that because the world, according to some, is overpopulated. He’s not stealing the lives of babies. He’s not killing people in horrific accidents. He’s not wrecking our planet with earthquakes, floods, or tsunamis. He’s not torturing people with diseases to see how much pain they can take. He’s not the author of the so-called Acts of God to judge this world for sin. God already judged sin on the cross of Christ and He’s not about to do that again. Or did we forget who is out there trying to kill, steal, and destroy?

Your King is the God of Glory (Acts 7:2). And a benefit of His glory is simply His goodness (Ex 33:18-19). In the heart and mind of God, His glory, or His goodness, is already upon you (Isa 60:1). He is sharing His glory, or His goodness, with you (John 17:22). He has called you to live in His glory and His goodness (2 Pet 1:3). As a matter of fact, people should look at you and see that God is good (Jer 33:9; Isa 40:5).

“Jesus answered and said to them, ‘Go and tell John the things which you hear and see: The blind see and the lame walk; the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear; the dead are raised up and the poor have the gospel preached to them.’”

(Matt 11:4-5 NKJV)

Jesus did not only come to preach a good message, He demonstrated the power of that message!

People who do not yet know Jesus Christ will not really believe that He is good simply because you tell them that. They couldn’t care less if you look religious, pray for hours, or talk about Jesus all day long. They’ll see the goodness of God if they see it in your life. They’ll see freedom if they see freedom in your life. They’ll see deliverance if they see deliverance in your life. They’ll see joy if they see the joy of the Lord in your life. They’ll see hope when they see hope in your life. They’ll see love if they see the love of God in your life.

Can you see why you should be a witness to the life of faith? Your life should silence those who mock Jesus Christ (1 Pet 2:15; Phil 1:6)! Only a witness can truly testify about the goodness and faithfulness of God. A witness speaks from experience, not from knowledge. A witness speaks from the heart, not from the mind. A witness bears the scars of battle on his heart, but carries the banner of victory in his hand. The voice of a witness is seasoned with compassion, not of judgment. A witness knows the power of grace, and the futility of self-reliance. A witness has a real story to tell.

If people see the glory and goodness of God upon your life they will run to Jesus no matter how much the world or the devil or negative people would like to stop them (Isa 60:3).

 

NEVER SURRENDER TO FEAR

“But when I am afraid, I put my trust in you.”

(Ps 56:3 NLT)

 

“I will hide beneath the shadows of your wings until this violent storm is past.”

(Ps 57:1 NLT)

Fear will come against you. That’s a fact. The fear of failure, the fear of rejection, the fear of public opinion, the fear of loss, the fear of disappointment, the fear of death, the fear of confrontation, fear of the unknown. We can fear many things.

Have you ever had moments when you could literally feel fear suffocating you? Have you ever looked at your situation and saw nothing but utter hopelessness? Are you familiar with a taunting voice yelling at you, “What will happen to you if God doesn’t come through for you?”

When thoughts like that haunt you, see things in perspective, and quickly. Fear is not of God. Jesus delivered us from the bondage of fear. We don’t have to be imprisoned by fear (Heb 2:15). Fear is nothing but a trap to divide your mind, to conquer your heart, and to paralyse your faith. Of course the devil will always give you the worst possible scenario. But don’t pay attention to his horrid pictures. When fear comes to you, run to God, let Him strengthen your heart in battle again, and go forward.

“Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about what happens to you.”

(1 Peter 5:7 NLT)

God doesn’t want you to be imprisoned by fear. He doesn’t want you to think that if you can’t pull things through on your own you’re finished. He doesn’t want you to think that if you can’t straighten yourself out you’re off the boat. He doesn’t want you to look as if you are carrying the weight of the entire world upon your shoulders. Your heavenly Father promised that He shall provide for, uphold, protect, support and defend you – always. God made a solemn oath to take care of you, and He doesn’t take His oaths lightly. He will always remain loyal to you (Isa 54:10). By the way, has there ever been a time when you cried out to God that He refused to help you? So why fear now?

The best thing you can do is to commit everything in your life to God. Give Him your cares and firmly refuse to worry about anything (Matt 6:25- 34). Worry is not going to change your situation. Worry only saps your strength. Worry stresses you out. Worry keeps your mind set on negative pictures. Worry is a wicked form of meditation. Worry dims the light of life in your eyes. Worry makes you look much older than you are. Worry produces a sour face. Worry makes your hair fall out. Worry gives you ulcers. Worry imprisons you and dampens your fun. Considering this condensed list, why should we worry?

You cannot take over God’s work. Children are not supposed to be burdened by worries or cares. They know that love will take care of them. So, be like a child and give God the care of your health, your family, your dreams, your finances, your marriage, relationships, and even your flaws. Settle it in your heart that God really cares very much about you!

Now, surrendering all your cares to God doesn’t imply that you should become passive, or unwise, or give up living by faith. You simply give up trying to get everything done through your own wisdom, willpower, or strength.

“These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”

(John 16:33 NKJV)

Fear not!

God did not promise us world peace but peace in Him. Your world may be crumbling down around you but you’ll always find peace in Him. Your business may be going through a storm but you’ll always find peace in Him. You may be going through the worst battle of your life but you’ll always find peace in Him. Your country may be going through a crisis but you’ll always find peace in Him. Everybody around you may be cracking up but your heart will be peaceful because you’ve found your peace in Him. You see, the peace of God is a supernatural peace and it will always amaze this excessively distressed world.

How do you live in that peace?

Keep your focus on Jesus, and all that He did for you (Heb 11:27). If you do that, the trouble that you face won’t rock your world into a standstill. If you keep your focus on Jesus you’ll always see something greater than the storm. He is the Source of your faith. He is the Source of your joy. He is the Source of your strength. He is the Source of whatever it is that you need. So, don’t fear. Only believe. You will make it. Jesus is the One who holds your hand. He is the One who makes the impossible possible. He is the Word that upholds you. He is the divine yes of your promise. And He is your Peace in the middle of your storm!

 

GOD IS A GOD OF RESTORATION

“This is the book of the genealogy of Adam. In the day that God created man, He made him in the likeness of God.”

(Gen 5:1 NKJV)

Adam messed up, but his mistake was not fatal. God wiped the slate clean and gave them a new beginning.

All through the Bible you’ll see brand new beginnings. God gave Moses a new beginning. He gave David a new beginning. He gave Job a new beginning. He gave Peter a new beginning. He gave Paul a new beginning. And He’ll give you a new beginning.

“I will give you back what you lost to the stripping locusts, the cutting locusts, the swarming locusts, and the hopping locusts.” (Joel 2:25 NLT)

We all have messed up in life. We all have done things we never should have done. We all have experienced something that never should have happened to us. But thank God He can turn our pain, loss, failures or mistakes around for our good. God is a restorer (Isa 61:7). He will give you a new beginning!

You know, there’s absolutely nothing you can do in your own strength or ability to restore some situations. You cannot redeem wasted time. You cannot take back hurtful words. You cannot lift that business out of the ashes yourself. You cannot mend certain broken relationships. You cannot heal your own broken heart. You are going to have to surrender control. Give it to God and trust Him to restore it.

God is a restorer of dreams. He is a restorer of hearts. He is a restorer of families. He is a restorer of marriages. He is a restorer of health. He is a restorer of finances. He is a restorer of peace. He is a restorer of relationships. He is a restorer of faith, hope, and love. He is a restorer, not a destroyer!

Your heavenly Father still has a glorious destiny for you. His willingness and compassion to help you will never fail you (Ps 136). Don’t ever let anyone tell you that your situation is beyond restoration. Don’t allow people to talk you out of the future you were meant to live. Don’t allow any voice to rob you of your dream. It’s not over until you say it’s over. And God will never say it’s over.

 

BE THANKFUL AND REJOICE

“(G)iving thanks is a sacrifice that truly honors Me.”

(Ps 50:23 NLT)

The sound on the battleground is the sound of rejoicing. No, victory shouts are never silent or subdued. Songs of celebration are always joyful and loud.

How can we be quiet, as victory already belongs to us?

Don’t you think it will be abnormal to be dignified, reserved and quiet – hiding behind the age-old excuse that our solemn, passionless assemblies honour our God? We have all the reason in the universe to praise and worship our God with a loud voice. We’re not without hope or without help in this world. Our God is for us, not against us!

“But at midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them. Suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened and everyone’s chains were loosed.”

(Acts 16:25-26 NKJV)

God delivered Joseph out of his prison. He delivered Peter out of his prison. He delivered Paul and Silas out of their prison. Surely, He will deliver you out of your particular prison.

If you’re in such a dark pit that light has become a foreign concept to you, follow the example of Paul and Silas and start praising your God. Don’t wait until you’ve been released before you praise Him. Start praising Him in your prison. Worship God for who He is. Celebrate Him. Celebrate His goodness in your life. Celebrate His faithfulness in your life. Celebrate past victories in your life. Give God thanks for all that He has done in your life. Cultivate a thankful heart!

Go to the book of Psalms and find words of praise. Read them aloud to God and to yourself. Lift up your God, not the problem. Lift up your Redeemer and Deliverer, not the chains. Magnify the grace, mercy, and love of your God, not your mistakes. Take your eyes off yourself or your situation and put it on Jesus.

If you learn to look at things from God’s perspective you will rejoice. Of course it’s not easy to praise God when everything around you sings a splendid negative song. That’s why praising God is an act of trust and of courage. Praise is the verbal expression of your faith!

At the Lord’s command, the Assyrians will be shattered.  He will strike them down with his royal scepter. And as the Lord strikes them with his rod of punishment, his people will celebrate with tambourines and harps. Lifting his mighty arm, he will fight the Assyrians.

(Isa 30:31-32 NLT)

There’s much more to songs of praise than just keeping the beat in church. Praise reminds the devil of his defeat, and he hates that. Praise will always silence the voice of the enemy in your head (Ps 8:2). Praise will always scatter and confuse the enemy that tries to come against you (2 Chron 20:21-24). That’s exactly why the devil will do all he can to steal your voice and to shut down your songs of victory. Don’t allow him to do that. Lift up your hands and declare that in Christ victory is yours. Sing a song of joy. Dance around with thanksgiving in your heart. Why?

Because you know God’s Word is forever settled in heaven and on that solid foundation you stand. No, negative feelings don’t matter, the threats of the devil don’t matter, the opinions of people don’t matter. You may look a little bit weird but who cares. You can shout because you give glory and honour to the One who deserves it, to the One who has done it all for you!

“Songs of joy and victory are sung in the camp of the godly.”

(Ps 118:15 NLT)

Joy! God wants your heart flooded with joy. He wants to turn your sadness into joy and happiness. He wants your smile to break through all the pain again. He wants your eyes to laugh again. He wants to lift that heaviness from your spirit so that you can see all the good He has for you. He wants you to know that everything is going to be all right because He is still the great I Am!

Listen, there is a time to mourn, but a time to stop. If you are going through a challenging time give yourself time to mourn. It’s normal, and we need that. We need time to mend wounds. And God will comfort you (2 Cor 1:3-4). But don’t stay there. At some point you will have to put on the garment of praise again!

Joy! This joy is not a feeling based upon positive circumstances. This joy is a spiritual force that comes from within your spirit. This joy is a gift from the Holy Spirit. This joy is based upon the Person you have come to know. This joy is based upon the faithfulness and promises of God. And this inner joy will sustain your faith until the answer comes.

“Even the animals – the donkey and the ox – know their owner and appreciate his care, but not my people Israel. No matter what I do for them, they still do not understand.”

(Isa 1:3 NLT)

If you listen to some conversations you might think that God has left us all! Some people have developed murmuring into a fine art. They constantly complain about everything in life. They complain about their living conditions, health, finances, jobs, families, or the weather. They happily complain about seemingly incompetent governments, the economy, violence, destruction, or injustice. If black people are not a problem then white people are. If none of them are a problem then coloured people are. If America is not the problem then China is. If China is not the problem then Africa is. There’s always a problem somewhere.

Some people are extremely good at discussing their problems for hours, but they never seem to discuss the solution we have in Christ. They have a thousand reasons to back up their opinions or complaints but they never seem to see things from heaven’s point of view. Well, God hates murmuring. He cannot stand it when all people do is complain, complain, complain. If we look at Jesus, and all that He has done for us, we have nothing to complain about. Especially if we complain about something we’re not willing to change.

 

PUT GOD FIRST

“So now today we are slaves here in the land of plenty that you gave to our ancestors! We are slaves among all this abundance!” (Neh 9:36 NLT)

If you follow the lives of the people in the Land of Promise, all through the books of Judges to Malachi, you’ll see that, at times, the people prospered, then they were down and out. Then they were free and then their enemies oppressed them again. Now we know that God is never the one with the problem. He will not break His covenant with us (Ps 89:34). So what happened?

The answer is simple: The hearts of the people drifted away from their God.

When the time came for the people to enter the Land of Promise, Moses gave them some important last reminders. He reminded them of how God rescued them from slavery with mighty miracles. He encouraged them to honour the Lord their God and cling to Him alone. He reminded them to love God. To never forget God when all is going well. And to always remember that God is their only God.

Unfortunately, when Joshua’s generation died, the next generation didn’t care much about God and eventually drifted off to worship foreign gods. In no time that decision left them to the mercy of their enemies (Judges 2:10-14). That established a pattern throughout history. When people sought their God they prospered. Whenever they forgot about Him their enemies eventually gained the upper hand.

If we bring it closer to home, how many people start out in love with God but when their lives get comfortable in the blessing of God their love for Him flies out the window (2 Tim 3:2). Or whenever God didn’t come through for them according to their deadline, they lost confidence in Him and turned to other “gods” for help (Acts 7:39-41). Then, a few years down the line, they don’t understand why their lives are in such a mess again.

“(E)ncouraged the believers to stay close to the Lord, whatever the cost.”

(Acts 11:23 TLB)

Listen, you have a living God who promised to be there for you. Your God is the only true God. Your God is the only just God. You have no other gods. You will have to make up your mind to serve God no matter what the cost.

Your heart cannot live in two separate worlds!

An affair with this world may sound exciting, but the end is bitter. This world will never satisfy our hunger or quench our thirst. This world system is designed to offer us freedom, pleasure, comfort, power, independence, or security (all fake of course) for a moment, but in the end it will enslave us, destroy our strength, and wreck our souls. We can’t think that we’re wise enough or strong enough to handle an affair with this world. We have no idea how fragile our hearts really are.

All God really wants is for you to love Him more than your money, more than your accomplishments, more than your intellect, more than your business, more than your family, and more than your work for Him. All He wants is to be your first love. All He wants from you is to still love Him even when you get frustrated or annoyed, or don’t understand what’s happening to you, or when you’re facing the worst storm of your life, or when the waiting gets extremely tough. God doesn’t want you to love Him only when life is easy and blessed. Well, isn’t that exactly what we expect from true love?

God is absolutely passionate about His relationship with us. He doesn’t want to share us with this world. He doesn’t want the devil to whisper sweet little lies in our ears and in the end destroy our hearts.

Now, maybe you may have drifted away. Maybe you served other “gods” for a while. But the Good News remains: God will never give up on you! His love will never fail you. His kindness and mercy will never depart from you. His love for you is simply too great to ever give you up!

“I would no more reject my people than I would change my laws of night and day, of earth and sky … Instead I will restore them to their land and have mercy on them.”

(Jer 33:25, 26 NLT)

It doesn’t matter how far some people have drifted away; God will get them back (Jer 31:8-9). He will not leave them in the enemy’s camp. He will bring them home. He will restore them. He will plant them in His house again. He will shower them with His blessing, goodness, mercy, grace and love. That’s a promise!

 

IT’S ALL ABOUT HIM

“This is what the Lord says: ‘Let not the wise man gloat in his wisdom, or the mighty man in his might, or the rich man in his riches. Let them boast in this alone: that they truly know me and understand that I am the LORD who is just and righteous, whose love is unfailing, and that I delight in these things. I, the LORD, have spoken!’”

(Jer 9:23-24 NLT)

The only thing that we can boast about in this life is that we have come to know our heavenly Father. So often we boast in our own strength, or wisdom, or great accomplishments, but no, was it not for God our enemies would have swallowed us alive. You know the secret to life is not in our own methods or formulas or religious rules. It’s not in our wisdom or knowledge or insight. It’s not in our faith or in our plans. It’s all about the presence of the Holy Spirit within and upon us (Ex 33:14). What truly separates us from the world is the presence of God (Mal 3:18). Nothing else!

Through hindsight we’ll see that God indeed ordered our steps, that He was faithful every step of the way, that His Word was our guiding light during times of total darkness, that He went ahead of us to prepare a way where there seemed to be no way, that His hand of blessing was upon us, that He always protected us from behind, that His promises proved to be true, that His love never failed us, that His grace kept us, that His kindness never departed from us, and that we entered the Land of Promise because He stuck to His plan!

“We give great honor to those who endure under suffering. Job is an example of a man who endured patiently. From his experience we see how the LORD’s plan finally ended in good, for he is full of tenderness and mercy.”

(James 5:11 NLT)

Yes, there were times when you thought that you weren’t going to make it, but God was with you and you made it. At times you were discouraged and in deep distress, but God lifted you out of the pit of despair and restored your hope. Your enemy tried to bring you down, but God protected you and gave you the victory. You were caught in traps, but God always rescued you. At times you had no strength left, but God carried you in His arms. Your dream seemed distant at times, but God restored your vision. Some battles left you feeling alone and hurt, but God comforted you and gave you strength in battle. There were times when all you could do was cry, but God wiped your tears and turned your sorrow into joy. You once thought that you would never amount to anything, but God gave you great success. You remember a night when you thought that you would never live to see the next day, but God preserved your life. There were times when nobody believed in you but God!

It was God who enabled you to fight the good fight of faith. It was God who inspired you to endure. It was God who sustained and completed your faith. It was God who revealed the meaning of His Word to you. It was God who showed you His glory. It was God who showed you His plan. It was God who brought you into your Land of Promise. His grace was sufficient for you! It was, and is, and always will be God. Everything we have, everything we are, and everything we can do is because of Him. We owe our lives to Him!